When you’re new to social media, the prospect of dealing with trolls, bullies, and stalkers might be intimidating or even discouraging. Don’t be discouraged. Be prepared.
You’ll escalate a problem or an attack with a knee-jerk response online. Devise a plan of action, and then stick to it.
Take a screenshot of the abusive comment. You might need it later, if the comment is deleted.
Your emotions will cloud your judgment. Know so in advance. Before you do anything in response to a problem that isn’t criminal or threatening, ask a neutral third party whose opinion you value to assess the situation. Another person’s perspective can give you insight that on a normal day you’d have for yourself.
Slow down. Sleep on it, if possible. It takes time for a flood of emotions to subside.
The best advice you’ll ever receive is, “Don’t feed the trolls.” Trolls, bullies, and stalkers bask in others’ reactions. If you react, you’ve giving them exactly what they desire. If you don’t respond, there will be nothing to keep them coming back. Frustrated, they’ll search for prey elsewhere.
You absolutely don’t need to have the last word. Why not let the abusive comment speak for itself? Readers recognize comments written by trolls. Once in a while, they even come to the defense of the person who’s being harassed.
If you’re a victim of cyberstalking or have received an online threat that makes you fearful, contact the police and ask to make a report of the incident.
Bookmark these, so they’ll be handy if you need them
Stalking Resource Center
A Program of the National Center for Victims of Crime
10 Tips for Handling Twitter Trolls
by Alex York, Sprout Social
Brave New Bullying: Goodreads Gangs, Amazon Attacks—What Are Writers to Do?
by Kristen Lamb
Lessons from Amy’s Baking Company:
Six Things You Should Never Do on Social Media
by Kelly Clay, Forbes
There’s Only One Thing To Do When The Internet Calls You Fat
by Jessica Plautz
5 Ways Writers Kill Their Credibility Online
by Lucy V. Hay, Bang2Write
Trolls just want to have fun
“trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism”
by Erin E. Buckelsa, Paul D. Trapnellb, and Delroy L. Paulhus, Personality and Individual Differences
by J.A. Konrath
You’ve Got Hate Mail: How to Deal with (Annoying) Critics
by L.L. Barkat